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With a wig, long clothes and ‘impure’ during their period: this is how the Hasidic Jews of ‘Unorthodox’ live

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‘Unorthodox’ is the revelation series of Netflix. Recreate the life of Deborah Fledmana Hasidic Jewish woman from Brooklynin the heart of New York City, which He fled with his young son to Germany of a community with suffocating norms and absolute control over women in the 21st century.

The Jews Hasidic people are an ultra-orthodox community who moved to New York from Hungary after World War II and settled in the south of the neighborhood of Williamsburgin the heart of Brooklyn.

The high birth rate of these families and the strict rules of the community, where contact with the outside world is prohibited, has caused them to continue growing and spreading to other neighborhoods such as Borough Parkalthough they continue to be a minority within the Jewish community, specifically 6% of the 5.3 million who live in the USA.

The series, recorded in iEnglish, Yiddish and Germannot only shows that the way of dressing of this community is typical of the 19th century but also its standards of life, limited and without freedom. The four 55-minute chapters cover the life of Deborah Fledman, member of Satmar, and married at the age of 17 to an ultra-orthodox Jew who did go to Manhattan every day to work in his family’s jewelry store while she stayed at home without working and without the possibility of studying.

The ban on women from going to university is not the only one they have to endure in these communities. The Hasidic Jews have to comply with strict rules and many limitations:

1. Shaved to the core and with wigs or scarves.

Married women cannot go out without covering their hair, so the custom among these women is, after the wedding, shaving your head completely shaved and wearing a wig, called sheitel, since Jewish law states that it is prohibited to show one’s own hair but does not say about wigs. The majority wear turbans or scarves inside their homes but opt ​​for almost identical wig models for the street because they are the ones that set the trends.

2. They can’t sing in front of a man.

In the series, the protagonist Esty is a music lover, like her grandmother, but he can only do it secretly because, among other things, it is forbidden for women to sing in front of him. of men since it is understood that it would be inciting them to sin with them. Yes, women’s recitals are allowed only for women.

3. Each one on the sidewalk and without looking at each other.

If someone visits the New York neighborhood of Williamsburg will check on site Like the husbands walk on one sidewalk and their wives, with children, go on another. Furthermore, men never look at women directly, as it would be a way of being incited to sin, and they normally walk with their eyes fixed on the ground.

4. Dressed with extreme modesty.

The rule states that you have to dress simply and that you can only go out with your face and hands uncovered, which is why they usually wear thick socks even in the summer. Many ultra-Orthodox women have claimed that this does not prevent them from wearing matching or pretty clothes in an attempt to follow their own fashions. However, they will never be seen with pants or short-sleeved or tank tops.

Esty, the protagonist of ‘Unorthodox’, with her husband and family.

5. ‘Impure’ with the period.

Hasidic custom states that During the week that menstruation lasts, the woman cannot touch her husband. and, therefore, you will sleep in separate beds. In addition, the woman has to take a blood test the week after finishing her period to check that she is completely clean (by inserting some cloths into the vagina) and go through the ‘mikva’, ritual purification baths that in the most open communities They have been referred to a kind of spa. Only after completing this entire process will she return to sleep with her husband, so the usual thing is to sleep 15 days a month together, 15 days apart.

6. Marriages are chosen by the rabbi.

The freedom to choose your life partner is overrated in these communities who trust in the wisdom of parents and the rabbi to find the best husband or wife. Many times, young people don’t know each other or they have seen each other very few times before consecrating their union.

7. They travel in different buses.

Most women do not leave the streets that determine the neighborhood where the Satmar community lives. However, If they have to move due to any circumstance, they and they get on different buses.They do not even share means of transportation.

8. They pray, they work.

Although on many occasions the image of ultra-Orthodox Jews has been combined with the jewelry or banking business in New York, the Hasidic people of Brooklyn do not always have healthy economies since they are families that have many children and that, sometimes, only the woman works outside the home while the man dedicates himself to Torah study.

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